While many of us are no doubt feeling a little rough around the edges today, young people across the country have put us to shame by getting up early to clean the streets.
The prospect of getting up to go litter-picking before dawn this morning would be hellish to most of us, but more than 1,500 selfless volunteers from Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association (AMYA) did just that, in the likes of London, Cardiff, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Walsall.
The volunteers donned high-vis gear and prayed before filling mountains of bin bags with rubbish strewn across the streets of cities and towns up and down the land.
Imam Qamar Ahmed Zafar said the clear-up project aimed to instil ‘lifestyle changes’ in young Muslims.
Speaking to Metro, he said: “Many people will be out on the night of new year’s eve celebrating the start of the New Year. As Ahmadi Muslims, our year begins with congregational prayer, we come together and pray for the world, for all those struggling.
“Thereafter we all get together and go out on to the streets to clean up after the celebrations have ended. This isn’t just to keep our surroundings clean, but is also done to remind our young Muslim youth about the duty they have to serve their country.
“More than that, it is also about trying to instil lifestyle changes in the youth – we take for granted the amount of food and plastic which is wasted, and such events are a reminder of how current consumption is destroying our planet.”
Top effort from all involved. If the youth keep up that attitude and application across the next decade then maybe the planet won’t be doomed after all.
Clean-up coordinator Mubashar Raja said the association hopes to continue to expand the clear-up project.
He said: “We have been cleaning up the streets now for a number of years. We are expanding our radius and aim to cover the whole UK, and this year we aim to pick up 5,000 bin bags worth of litter over the morning.
“When we began, it was just us, a humble effort. But as the years progressed, we have got the local councils and communities on board.
“It just goes to show how a little effort and a good cause can bring everyone together.”
Group member Malik Takreem Ahmed said getting involved with the clean-up made him feel like he was a part of something ‘positive’.
He said: “As a young Ahmadi Muslim this is how I have been brought up. It’s always amazing to see the smiles on the faces of the people we try to help.
“My friends mostly celebrate the new year by being with family and friends, but I think there is just so much more to it than that if we can spend it helping others, regardless of their relation to us.
“Taking part in these street cleans makes me feel like I belong to something which is a positive driving force in the world.”
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